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Short Synopsis
A novel of ambition and obsession centered on the race to discover Pluto in 1930, pitting an untrained Kansas farm boy against the greatest minds of Harvard at the run-down Lowell Observatory in Arizona.

Full Synopsis
In 1928, the boy who will discover Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, is on the family farm, grinding a lens for his own telescope under the immense Kansas sky. In Flagstaff, Arizona, the staff of Lowell Observatory is about to resume the late Percival Lowell's interrupted search for Planet X. Meanwhile, the immensely rich heir to a chemical fortune has decided to go west to hunt for dinosaurs, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the most beautiful girl in America is going slowly insane while her ex-heavyweight champion boyfriend stands by helplessly, desperate to do anything to keep her.

Inspired by the true story of Tombaugh and set in the last gin-soaked months of the flapper era, Percival's Planet tells the story of the intertwining lives of half a dozen dreamers, schemers, and madmen. Following Tombaugh's unlikely path from son of a farmer to discoverer of a planet, the novel touches on insanity, mathematics, music, astrophysics, boxing, dinosaur hunting, shipwrecks—and what happens when the greatest romance of your life is also the source of your life's greatest sorrow.

"Dufris' splendid narration makes even arduous observations and endless recalculations seem intriguing; he also excels at convincingly portraying a large cast of characters, men and women, making listeners privy to their thoughts and emotions." ---Booklist Audio Review

"Byers has created...an endearing story of underdogs, both the ragtag crew of astronomers and the tiny celestial body they're hoping to find. A–" ---Entertainment Weekly

"Amateur astronomers and readers with an interest in historical fiction will not be disappointed with Byers's latest effort." ---Library Journal

"A thoughtful window on history told in a warm and witty narrative style." ---AudioFile

"This insightful, witty novel grabs the heart and tickles the mind." ---Booklist Starred Review

"A subtle, satisfying adventure." ---Washington Post

"A deeply generous attempt to explore the forces that make us restless, that make us want to wander the desert or peer into the sky or pace along our own fence lines, dreaming of finding something that might not be out there." ---New York Times

"A story of earth, sky, and bones, of privilege and struggle, of grave and beautiful people is...deserving of our admiration and awe." ---Boston Globe

"Between the faultless storytelling and the juicy historical hook, [Percival's Planet] looks like a hit." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Booklist Bestseller

Booklist Review

Publishers Weekly Review

Percival's Planet

A Novel

Author Michael Byers

Narrated by William Dufris

Publication date Aug 24, 2010

Running time 18 hrs

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